On Migrants Day, immigrants press case with Massachusetts leaders

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BOSTON >> Activists marked International Migrants Day at the State House Friday by delivering a declaration pledging support for undocumented immigrants and calling on Beacon Hill leaders to join them in taking up the cause.

Representatives of Centro Presente, the Student Immigration Movement and the Brazilian Worker Center brought copies of the declaration to the offices of Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

Centro Presente Executive Director Patricia Montes, whose organization organizes for immigrant rights, worker rights, and civic engagement, said the declaration was a "small but symbolic action" to acknowledge the ways in which immigrants contribute to society.

In Baker's office, the group read aloud the declaration, which recognized the "approximately 185,000 undocumented immigrants who reside in Massachusetts and contribute to the economy, progress and social fabric of our communities" and voiced frustration with elected officials for not "promoting legislation that would alleviate the suffering of immigrant families."

Baker and members of his cabinet were in Western Massachusetts Friday, holding various events to highlight their initiatives in the region.

Speaking to members of the governor's staff, the activists called on Baker and all elected officials to remember undocumented immigrants and others who cannot vote because of their immigration status when crafting public policy.

"We feel the governor has the responsibility not to represent some of the residents of Massachusetts, but all of us," Brazilian Worker Center Executive Director NatalĂ­cia Tracy said.

The activists said they wanted to see action on bills related to immigrants, including measures that would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses and pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.

"This year is almost done, and nothing positive happened for immigrants," Montes told the News Service.


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